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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering what the cichlid forum community knows about requirements for a turtle tank. I'm at constant battle with my wife about my tanks, and any foothold I can get with her I will leverage to my advantage :D. A pet store down the street had one of these guys for sale for like $20. My wife likes them and would support me getting one. Right now the stipulation is I would have to use one of the tanks I already own but I'm working on that.

Anyways, I read a little bit about them. Adult males are smaller than adult females. One source recommends a 75g tank for a single adult male and a 125g tank for a single adult female. They require the capability to get out of the water for basking. They require a heat lamp and some type of UV lighting I can't remember right now.

My question is, suppose I could get ahold of somethink like a 4' 90g tank or bigger (taller and/or longer), and built a basking ledge a few inches down from the rim of the tank, are there any cichlids I could incorporate into this type of setup with say a male western painted turtle? I imagine it would have to be something large enough enough the turtle won't try to eat, but yet won't harass or try to take chunks out of the turtle.

Also, if anyone can direct me to a community where I might be able to find more information, I'd appreciate that as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input Lestango! Here's a couple images I found through google of the turtle I saw:





The genus/species is Chrysemys picta, with westerns being classified as C. p. bellii, but there are also easterns (C. p. picta), midlands (C. p. marginata), and southern (C. p. dorsalis). Westerns are the biggest, and IMO the most attractively colored. Probably why thats the species I saw at my pet store.

I searched for Troost turtle and it appears to be something different. I found something known as a Red eared slider, formerly known as as Troost's turtle in honor of an American herpetologist; Trachemys scripta troostii is now the scientific name for another subspecies, the Cumberland turtle. This has genus/species /subspecies Trachemys scripta elegans, so is something different. Also, seems to get a few inches bigger than the western painteds.

I'm basically getting my information from wikipedia at this point... :?

Here is a section on the painted turtles' diets:

The eastern painted turtle's diet is the least studied. It prefers to eat in the water, but has been observed eating on land. The fish it consumes are typically dead or injured.[110]

The midland painted turtle eats mostly aquatic insects and both vascular and non-vascular plants.[111]

The southern painted turtle's diet changes with age. Juveniles have a 13% vegetarian diet, adults 88%. This perhaps shows the turtle prefers meat, but can only obtain the amounts desired (by eating small larvae and such) while young.[112] The reversal of feeding habits with age has also been seen in the false map turtle, which inhabits some of the same range. The most common plants eaten by adult southern painted turtles are duckweed and algae, and the most common prey items are dragonfly larvae and crayfish.[113]

The western painted turtle's consumption of plants and animals changes seasonally. In early summer, 60% of its diet comprises insects. In late summer, 55% includes plants.[114] Of note, the western painted turtle also eats many white water-lily seeds. Because the hard-coated seeds remain viable after passing through the turtle, they are dispersed by it.[114]
Of course, they will be opportunistic feeders in captivity just like fish, etc.

I did find one webpage dedicated to the turtles: http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/c ... ainted.htm

This is what the page says regarding their diet:

CAPTIVE DIET

Throughout their lives, Western Painteds are omnivorous with the strong preference for being carnivores. This creates the opportunity for keepers to offer too much in the way of proteins. It is important to keep a check on the turtle's diet and ensure that it is getting a well-rounded feeding. In captivity, they do well on Mazuri and ReptoMin, Reptile/Pond 10, Cichlid Sticks, feeder fish, occasional ghost shrimp, aquatic plants (such as Water Lilies, Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, Anachris, Water Lettuce, Water Fern, Pondweed, Water starwort, Hornwort, Water milfoil, and Frogbit), veggies (such as Zucchini, Squash, Collard Greens, Beet Leaves, Endive, Romaine, Red Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Escarole, Mustard Greens & Dandelions) and some fruits, crickets, meal worms and blood worms.
says feeder fish and ghost shrimp, but nothing about whether they would go after larger fish. It does say this though: "Sliders have powerful jaws and can easily kill smaller turtles, so only turtles of comparable size are recommended." So seems they may be similar to the Troost turtle in this regard - they are referred to as sliders on this page.

All this info, just didn't see anything about whether it were possible to keep this turtle with larger fish. I certainly wouldn't want to intentionally cause harm to fish or turtle, just seeking information at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hmmm... just seems like such a waste to have so much water and no fish. :? The turtle won't even be utilizing the water the whole time, and when it does, I'm sure its not swimming around like a fish. Probably just laying on the bottom or swimming up to get some air. I suppose I could get some hardy disposable fish like convicts, maybe they'll produce enough fry often enough to keep the turtle satisfied on fry and leaving the adult convicts alone? wishful thinking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the ideas everyone keep 'em coming i'm about getting full on DIY in this project now can't hold me back :lol:

So I'm thinking anything worth doing is worth doing right, as always. I couldn't settle for a 55g mbuna tank, I had to upgrade to the 125 and then I had to get the 33 and the 40 (and the 10) for fry and quarentine and isoloation...

So, I think I'm going to go the small, indoor pond route. Well, it has to fly with the wife but I mentioned it once already and it didn't immediately get shot down, so theres hope. I'm thinking something like 6'x3', but only 12"-18" of water deep. It'll go in my basement. I'd go bigger, but I have to keep all the costs low, from building to operation. If running it noticeable adds to the electric bill, thats where my wife will complain. Also, it either has to be easy to move, or disposeable once we move out of the house we're renting in the next year or 2.

So I've been researching all day and I think I'll put a solid, overbuilt frame together out of 2x3's, cover it with some plywood, and then seal it with drylok/pond armor/wetsuit/etc - something quick and easy (and inexpensive!!). It should at least last a couple years and by that point I'll decide if its worth moving or ditching when we move out.

I'll finish the setup with some cichlids that look good viewed from above. Right now, I can't think of anything better than lots of yellow labs and being ok with the idea that some might get eaten from time to time. Also, gives me an incentive to keep raising mbuna fry from my other species and growing them out a bit, as whatever I can't sell/give to other area hobbiests by the time I need the tank space can get dumped in the turtle tank where some may survive and some may end up food.

It'll be between 135-200gallons of water but shhhh don't tell my wife she's gonna think its MUCH smaller than my 125 because its so shallow and she won't bother to measure and check :p. I'd like to build it up off the floor both for better viewing and to keep the cats and dog out of it but thats $$$ for building a pretty good sized stand so it'll most likely just sit on the floor and I'll come up with something to cover enough to keep my other interested pets at bay. Maybe a recliner or sofa down there and a little TV and have myself a little mancave next to my pond :p

I may try an in-tank poret HMF for filtration it'll take away a little floor space but I can hide it under the basking platform which will be removeable for filter maintenance.

The last question becomes what turtle(s) do I stock it with? Do I make it a paradise for a single western painted like I saw or do I try out a couple different species? Maybe there's a different species I'd really like besides the western painted? idk, but now I'm so into I've got to research that aspect as well. I've certainly caught the (another) itch.

Keep comin' with the ideas and try to talk me out of it before my wife kicks me out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nice turtles :)

Any suggestions for cichlids (any kind, not just africans) that would look good when viewed from above, besides yellow labs? Actually, my red zebras look pretty good from above but again, more mbuna. What can I say, I know what I know :fish: . I'm open to new species though, if they're either A) tough enough for the turtle, or B) many, cheap, and expendable :p.

What about like a bigger tough central american, like a jag or a dovii? Wonder how they'd look from above. I'd like an oscar, but probably not very attractive from above. Hey I wonder if my LFS would give me a good deal on their 2' Emperor, I'll bet its big enough and tough enough to last with a turtle :p. I'll probably have a sand bottom so the fish would have to stand out against a beige backdrop when viewed from above.

Maybe just a Koi or 2, but... meh, not a cichlid, and boring IMO. I was thinking about a medium sized catfish (12"-18"), but not sure how it would work out if the turtle would bite at it while it was resting on the bottom.

Completely aside, in turtle only setups, how important are the water parameters? Do they care how much ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? I imagine swimming around in ammonia wouldn't be pleasant even if they don't breathe the water, but would the nitrates matter as much? Just curious.

By the way, I officially asked the wife if I could build a turtle tank in the basement. I didn't get a full endorsement, but it wasn't a no. I believe it went something like "Do we really need another animal in the house to take care of?" She went to the obvious "If its in the basement you'll never see it", so I laid out my plans for finding a free recliner or sofa and setting up the TV and making the basement useful for something other than storage. She then said something about needed to get a cable box for the basement then. In other words, I think its pretty much the soft "go ahead if you must". :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Cool thanks for the info. Yeah I was just thinking if I went turtle only, if that meant I didn't need to do water changes for nitrates as much/often. That could work as a selling point with my better half. Obviously if I have fish, I'll be doing the >50% weekly water changes I'm used to already. Since the "pond" will be at floor level, I'll configure my plumbing so that I can turn a couple valves and use my filtration pump to drain the tank into the floor drain or utility sink in the basement.

Regarding pH: well I know you're a bit more concerned about it than I am. I'm only planning on using my tap pH (7.4-7.6) unadjusted, its just fine for my mbuna. I don't plan on stocking any pH sensitive fish (ie no discuss or tanganykans or WC). So any fish I would put in there will pretty much be fine to adapt to the water conditions. The turtle on the other hand, I'll look into pH requirements and if I find out it matters I'll either adjust my tank water or find a species compatible with my tap. I suspect my water will be just fine though.

I got the Koi idea from a thread at MFK someone built a huge plywood above ground outdor pond for a turtle and koi I guess they were getting along fine as long as the koi were healthy but I guess the guy lost most of his koi during a mishap during a water change and the turtle would snack on the weak koi. I don't think my little indoor pond will be big enough for koi anyways, and hey, this is CICHLIDforum, I want cichlids :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
After more research, I'm thinking I might try to find a hatchling sized turtle so it can live in my 40br for a while. I still want to do the small indoor pond, but I like getting my pets as babies and watching them grow. I think a 6x3foot pond would be a bit ridiculous for a single quarter-sized turtle :lol:

As for species, I think there are 3 on my short list right now:

1) Western painted still
2) Southern painted - better viewed from above than westerns, with a bright red/orange stripe down the shell, where-as westerns are better viewed from the side and bottom, which is difficult in a windowless indoor pond. Also, the southerns are smaller - males only getting to 3.5-5 inches, so in theory an adult male could live out its life comfortably in a 40br. I'd still build it an indoor pond though :p
3) Red eared slider - from what I understand, they're the electric yellows of the turtle world - found just about everywhere. They're also the biggest of my 3 choices so would make the best use out of the small indoor pond I intend to build.

If I find a hatchling, I'll put it in with my auratus and RZ mbuna in the 40br. I'll just have to figure out a basking platform. Hopefully it'll learn it can't catch the fish, so as it grows I'll be able to keep it with fish no problem. I'm still thinking about mbuna + turtle in the pond when I build it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Thanks for the info craig! its like you're reading my mind. I've been spending time on ATP turtle forums the last few days and discovered the DBT's. I think they're my first choice.

ACTUALLY, the Indian Black Spotted Pond turtle is my first choice, but aside from the $500+ price tag, I don't know how to get one in OH. Probably going to go with some type of DBT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Yeah I think I'm just going to go with mbuna with a single turtle - start with either yellow labs or red zebras - and if a turtle gets a snack now and then, I'll be ok with it. Actually, I look forward to knowing I can just toss in fry/juvies I strip out of my 125 and letting the turtle snack on them at will if he can catch them. I pretty much have an endless supply of rusties that my harem puts out on a monthly basis.

I might start building my pond soon. I could in theory start with a hatchling size turtle in the 40br I have and it would be good for maybe the first year, but I'd have to come up with a basking area anyways and what not so I might as well put that time, effort, and money into the pond. Plus, I've been looking for an excuse to build something anyways :p
 
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